Some 1.6 million fans registered for a chance at fewer than 9,000 tickets to Michael Jackson’s memorial service next week, organizers said. Registration ended at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) Saturday. The overwhelming response prompted organizers to open the lottery to non-U.S. residents as well, a Jackson family spokesman said.
Those who registered are hoping to be among the 8,750 people randomly selected by computer to receive a pair of tickets to attend the service at the Staples Center on Tuesday. Winners are to get an e-mail Sunday telling them to contact Ticketmaster for information on how to claim their tickets, said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG Live, which is putting on the event. Tickets will be handed out Monday at locations away from the Staples Center, he said. Ticketholders will also have wristbands to match their tickets, a precaution against people “trying to take advantage” of the system, he said.
The family has not yet decided whether Jackson’s body will be brought to the Staples Center arena — where the public ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. PT. While 11,000 seats are available for fans inside the Staples Center, another 6,500 can watch from the Nokia Theater site across the street, according to Leiweke. Police said they will close the area near the Staples Center to all those without a ticket. The family will provide a free live video feed to networks so it can be televised everywhere.
Ken Ehrlich, known for producing the Grammy Awards, is producing the memorial show, his company said. And Kenny Ortega, who was to have co-directed Jackson’s series of concerts in London, England, this summer, will direct it. Singer Jennifer Hudson will be among the performers taking the stage at the ceremony, CNN has confirmed.